One of the very first designs I made with this stencil-style used a Gage Skidmore photo of Trump as its source. I needed a graphic for the header of a post I was working on about fascism and buffoonery, so I made the image on the right (or below, if you are reading on a phone). I was very happy with the results, and I can safely say that all of my efforts in this style flow directly from this image. Thanks, Donald! Definitely the only thing I can thank him for.
The one thing I ultimately didn't like about that graphic was Trump's expression. To me, it read originally as smug and judgmental, but that could be me bringing my own baggage to the table; a friend of mine who saw it said Trump looked kind of benign to him, and now that's all I can see when I look at it. Consequently, I set about finding another photo of Trump to work with, and once again the extremely prolific Gage Skidmore provided. The fill image of a scabrous plastic public utility box coated in fragments of advertisements and adhesive residue is a photo I took in Amsterdam, 2005. I can think of almost no better visual metaphor for the man, just illegible shreds of marketing and bottom-tier scams.
Trump's expression in this photo strikes me as somehow managing to combine suspicion, disdain, wariness, and confidence. It's the look of a guy who just told a huge lie and is momentarily sitting back to evaluate how it went, while at the same time being pretty sure his ass is covered. Again, perhaps that reveals something about me.
The final result works very well on a number of levels. Trump's expression is, if anything, accentuated by the graphic style. The fill texture comments on the subject not only conceptually but also with its palette of red, white and blue. Finally, the placement of the fill photo gives him a blood-slickened chin, a red-tipped nose, and a ghost of Braveheart.
I don't think this one will ever see a t-shirt or a coffee cup. Using this treatment on individuals I fundamentally disagree with always presents me with the same predicament, which is, "Why would I want to wear a picture of that asshole?"